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Cancer Drug for Dogs Approved

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announces new drugs fairly regularly, rarely do these approvals have a direct impact on companion animals. But at the beginning of June, they broadcasted their stamp-of-approval for a new drug created by Pfizer Animal Health, Inc.  The green-light is significant because it is the first drug developed specifically for the treatment of a canine cancer.

The drug, Palladia (which, incidentally, means “anything believed to provide protection”, or “a safeguard”), was created to treat a specific kind of mast cell cancer of the skin.  These aberrant skin cells are responsible for about 20% of skin cancers in dogs.  A significant number of these cancers develop into life-threatening growths capable of spreading to lymph nodes.  The drug targets the individual tumor cells themselves while simultaneously working to cut off the blood supply to the whole tumor.

This represents a promising turn of events in veterinary science, as vets have only had cancer treatments designed specifically for humans at their disposal, without any clear evidence of the effectiveness of those treatments.

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